Year in Preview: The NHL's next wave of stars

Year in Preview: The NHL's next wave of stars

Year in Preview: The NHL's next wave of stars
December 26, 2007

John Tavares: Maybe this year ... definitely next year

The biggest name in NHL draft circles in 2008 will belong to Tavares, a 6-foot, 183-pounder playing for Oshawa of the Ontario Hockey League. One minor detail: Unless the league bends its entry rules, Tavares, whose 18th birthday falls five days after the deadline, won't be eligible for the draft until 2009.

Last season, Tavares broke Wayne Gretzky's OHL record for goals by a 16-year-old with 72 in 67 games at the top level of junior hockey. That marked him for greatness, if not Great One-ness. Even if Tavares isn't in the NHL next season, every scout will have at least one eye on him -- and fans of every bad team will have one heck of a consolation prize to root for.

5 (or 6) others to watch

Karri Ramo, G, Tampa Bay Lightning:
On a talented team starved for confident quality goaltending, Ramo, 21, has an opportunity to energize the Lightning.

Mike Richards, F, Philadelphia Flyers: Teams don't hand out 12-year contracts to pedestrian players, and at 22 Richards has the same stuff as legendary captain Bobby Clarke -- and more teeth.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks: Why yes, they are worth mentioning in the same sentence because together they are the NHL's top rookie scorers and the umbilical cord of the reborn Hawks. Both are 19.

Aaron Voros, W, Minnesota Wild: At 26 and a survivor of bone cancer, he plays bodyguard for Wild aces Pavol Demitra and Marian Gaborik. He's no slouch himself and is as rugged as the British Columbia shoreline.

Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens: He has all the talent in the world and is being labeled the next great Canadiens goaltender. At 20, his only problem is being labeled the next great Canadiens goaltende

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